Dance lessons in LA: Swing dance? Others?
May 29, 2005 10:57 PM   Subscribe

Where are the best ways/places to learn to swing dance in Los Angeles? How about Tango? Salsa? How does one get through the initial stage of being awkward and confused towards actually having fun with a given dance?

I'd like to learn to dance with my girlfriend. We've found a decent intro salsa class but I've had some trouble actually convicing myself to *go* after the first time, since I left the class considerably more confused than I began. I imagine a good cure for this would be to go a bunch more, but added insight would be appreciated.

As for swing dancing, she would love to go swing dancing, but she's far more experienced than I, and so I have an awful lot of catching up to do. Suggestions here?
posted by sirion to Human Relations (3 answers total)
Suggestion ... go dancing more? I found that if I wanted to actually learn how to dance and have it stick, I had to dance at least once a week. Maybe a weekly lesson and a weekly night dancing with your GF. You can practice by yourself at home, too, if there are things you have trouble remembering.

I was utterly clumsy and befuddled for a while when learning to dance but eventually got to the point where I was comfortable enough to enjoy it, and a while after that started to get reasonably good at dancing. (And then I broke up with the girl who liked to dance ... sigh.)

There's definitely a hump to get over at the beginning, and for me at least dancing is something I can only learn by doing; I can watch and analyze all I want but that only gets me a little part of the way there.

Many of the places that have swing or salsa dancing where I live have a brief (half-hour or so) lesson before the actual dance starts, which is a nice way to warm up and learn stuff. There might be something like that near you as well.
posted by hattifattener at 12:30 AM on May 30, 2005

I've never been or learned to swing dance myself, but doesn't the Brown Derby have swing dancing classes?

In fact, yeah, from their web site:
Doors Open at 6 pm $10.00 Cover 2 Classes
1st Class INT Lindy Hopp at 6:30
2nd Class BEG Jitterbug/East Coast at 7:30

posted by willnot at 6:11 AM on May 30, 2005

I learned in a dance studio. It's expensive, and some of the dodgier for-profit ones try to keep you insulated from the rest of the dance world lest you end up spending your money at another studio, but the advantage is that these places have beginner dance nights and various other events and stuff where everyone is at the same level, with some instructors in the mix, and various other stuff going on, so it's fun and not so awkward, and thus you dance in this sheltered little world until you've outgrown it, at which point you're over the hump and ready for the wider world.

The best way to get up to speed quickly and maximise your investment in the classes, is to practise on your own time, around the house, brushing your teeth, wherever you're comfortable. Go to more classes, so you'll learn things you may not be able to do well, or get right often, but then do practise in addition to the class. Savour classes that are partly over your head while you can - for me they were the best bang for buck in terms of learning quickly at low cost. If you persist, it won't be too long until most classes seem like basic revision, yet you're spending the same amount of money on them.

Also, ask your instructors for some practise exercises - most would like nothing better than students to do their "homework" in this respect (saves them teaching the boring stuff over and over with little progress being made), and will have some simple exercises that might not even be dance moves, but train your body in the correct ways to move your weight and stuff like that which will make your body "just get it" when they teach the actual dance steps. Or maybe just make your body look a lot better while doing the steps, but that's also nice :-)

If money isn't a problem, there is no faster way to learn than private instruction, but this will likely be $50-90 an hour (guessing, since I'm not in LA). Even if that's not a viable course, you might want to consider a private lesson every now and then to get specific corrections and improvements to what you're doing. Since a class is full of people, only the most problematic of problems tend to get attention, yet the smaller problems can cause bigger problems further down the line.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:17 AM on May 30, 2005

« Older Direct Buy, that snazzy 'insider prices' club, is...   |   I am looking at purchasing spinning rums on Ebay Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.